Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Knitting Local with an Alpaca Named Jackson

Most people who know me know I love some internet-mail-order-drop-ship-the-yarny-goodness-on-my-front-doorstep businesses. Really love them. But at least once a year my family lets me out of the house to drive miles to our closest fiber fair, the Carolina Fiber Fest. This is where I can get local (within the state!) yarn to knit.

I think I scored well this year. This is yarn milled from Jackson, an alpaca at Char Mar Alpaca Farm in Liberty, NC.

The lady who sold me this skein said this was the first time she had Jackson's fleece milled because usually she brought his fleece to market and it's sold in a flash. Not surprised. It is a beauty. I'm thinking hat for me! LOL.

(That terrific shopping bag came from Shutterfly. I got it with a great coupon from my grocery store.)

I have some patterns in production right now, an artsy sock and a sweet hat coming in time for knitting season. Ha ha!


This pattern is based on my Soaring cowl pattern. I knit the prototype quickly as a new chemo hat for my lovely mother-in-law. I could use a few testers for this pattern. If you would like to knit this, contact me at krollinsknits AT gmail DOT com. Or PM me on Ravelry at KatherineR

Enjoy!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Tips for working the Evening Tide Mitts

I promised in the last post I would show you some of my gory working shots of making the Evening Tide Mitts. Hopefully this will help with the tricky bits.

Tip 1: Thumb Placement

The first part of the pattern has you work some of the fabric and make a place holder for the thumb. I suggested in the pattern to work to 22 stitches but you can customize this length by laying the fabric across your hand and counting stitches, as in this picture.


Tip 2: Picking Up Stitches for Thumb



This may only confuse me, but I find that as I remove the waste yarn holding the thumb stitches that it snakes back and forth across the opening. To pick each stitch up held by the waste yarn, I use two dpns at the same time to pick the stitches up as they drop off top or bottom.

With this technique I get one more stitch on the top needle than the bottom which is all good.





Tip 3: Use the Kitchener Stitch to graft sides together.

The first prototype I made I used the three needle bind-off to seam the sides. Woo, that was bad! I'm not even going to show those results! The Kitchener does take some time and patience to do but the results are lovely. I was in a Loopy Ewe sock club one year that sent me this cute key chain to remind me how to do the stitch.




That's all I have for today. I hope this helps. I'm happy to answer questions on any of my patterns.

I hope you all enjoy the knit!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Evening Tide Mitts Pattern

My first pattern release for this year is a light pair of fingerless mitts that match the Evening Tide Scarf. My inspiration came rather accidentally. I was idly twirling my scarf around my hand and suddenly stopped to look. Oh my, I said, that would look good as a fingerless mitt! Fast forward a few months and here they are.

 I very much like the way they turned out. They will be perfect for a chill spring or fall day or even cold air conditioned hands typing on a computer.



You may have noticed that this yarn is a different color than what I used for the Evening Tide Scarf. It seems that the other colorway will be going bye-bye on Knit Picks. They wanted me to use the new Hawthorne Kettle Dye. I mentioned that I wouldn't have a set like I'd hoped, so they generously sent me two skeins as I showed you in this post.

These mitts don't take the entire skein so I can add the leftovers to the new skein and make the scarf a little extra longer. Perfect! I love to use up yarn.

This pattern should come up on Knit Picks website soon but right now it is on Ravelry for $4.00.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ghosts In the Night is on Schoolwide's new digital library Zing

I'm so excited! A story I wrote and Mary illustrated a long long time ago has been republished on Schoolwide's new digital library Zing. 

Last fall, they had said March as the time it would come online and truly it came up quietly mid-month. So quiet, that I only knew about it because they started tweeting. The site is linked now to the main site so it has probably passed its initial testing.

I'm thrilled about the site because I know from my daughter's public school experience that many elementary schools have been gifted with iPads but not enough physical books. I would rather her be reading books on those iPads than the games she tells me she plays. 

I haven't seen my story yet because I'm awaiting my author pass. I'm not hurrying either because I'm a bit choked up.

Let me show you one of Mary's pictures that wasn't used originally but we sent it along in case Schoolwide wanted to put it in. I think Mary thought it was too scary.

Copyright Mary F. Parker

 Sweet dreams!

(More knitting to come!)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hello March

The last weeks of February were so frozen, I feel like I've been hibernating. At least I had lots of wool.


Some progress was made on the man sock but I've spent much of the time putting the finishing touches on my latest design. I can't wait to share it. It's only a matter of polishing up the paperwork and sending it to my tech editor. And yes, photos, they are coming!

Here's a sneak peek.


It's like Disney just announced Frozen 2- I get to announce Evening Tide 2! LOL. Because such a nice scarf needed something more to go with it. Coming to Ravelry and Knit Picks in April (most likely, really.) I've also been preparing a "making of" blog post to follow.

In writing news:

I've been waiting to announce the publication of two stories on two different digital platforms but alas I still wait. March was the whisper from last year so I'm hoping soon soon maybe April.

My good friend Pam Calvert has sold a new picture book! She has a great blog series to help writers, her PBU which I've linked to the right panel on this blog. She's been very inspirational and has me trying to write again.

Right now, I've got a character waiting for a plot. LOL! And a sock design I'm swatching... Hmmm which will be finished first?  :-)

Enjoy spring where you've got it!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I am so glad they announced.

It's been a hard week not talking about these beauties!


My latest yarn support from Knit Picks is Hawthorne because my last design with it deserved a follow up! (I'm also completely hooked on the fiber, so nice.) I was totally surprised though when I received one of their to-be-coming colors. :-)  This is the Hawthorne kettle dye in Faun.



I made sure to take some porch and desk shots before the hanks went on my swift. The yarn is fingering weight and I'm knitting slowly, but happy with the design so far. We are iced in today which makes it a perfect day to have a cup of tea and knit something new.  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

More than one way to knit a sock. Rethinking Lucky Lotus Socks



I’ve been thinking about socks a lot lately. My newest in-between knit is this one for my husband.


It’s a very dark blue. I think I have a thing for blue sock yarn looking at my own three pairs out of the wash!


What I love about socks is that they are small knitting, almost private knitting. You wear them in your shoes, under your pants and nobody really needs to know about your knitting habit. It’s just a couple of circular needles or dpns and one ball of yarn, so easy to hide away in a purse. That $28 (or more) yarn you’re using to make those socks, well that information can stay between you and Visa. Nobody should need to know. It’s your own guilty pleasure.

As much as I love blue yarn for socks, it is funny that the one sock I did design is not blue!

I discovered a new way to think about knitting these socks by helping a customer this week.

I had designed the back of the leg to look like this:



And the front of the leg to look like this:


Well that means using the intarsia technique and there would be a seam to stitch up after if you didn’t do the intarsia-in-the-round method.


No problem really, right?

I learned that not everybody likes/knows how/or wants to do intarsia. It came to me that the leg could be stranded around. If you used the contrast color for the purl section of the rib in the back, you would get a cute zing of color and be able to strand the rounds. (Just keep your stitches evenly spaced so you don’t constrict your leg!)

Here are pics from my customer. I think they’ll look great! I can’t wait to see her finished socks.

Front on the left

Back on the right














Knit socks can be what you want them to be. Enjoy the knit!